Forumware giant vBulletin has vehemently defended its decision to ban paying customers from its own support forums after they complained about its new licensing scheme. Now owned by the self-described new-media company Internet Brands, vBulletin offers messageboard software used by roughly 40,000 "online communities" across the …
I wouldn't say I'm a disgruntled employee, I left on reasonable terms with the company and was answering questions for them just a few weeks ago. The fact that they're simply ignoring customers is just shocking and it's what troubles me the most.
Bunch of wankers
I have about eight licenses for Vbulletin and I'll certainly be reviewing this when they come up for renewal under the new scheme, this won't be until next year though as we renewed all the upgrade packages recently.
Maybe this is all that's needed for another forum to become prominent, it's a lot of cash for someone starting a website as a hobby.
I do know one thing though, we won't be paying the full fee to upgrade, not a chance in hell, they can go fuck themselves !
vB/IB are a bunch of liars
I have documented proof that they ban from both vb.com and vb.org. To say otherwise is a blatant lie! IB is *lying* to the press, they are *lying* to their customers, and they want you to pay for a software suite that isn't even close to being done? Nice...
Here's the screenshot.. Let's see them deny it now:
lol vbulletin please...
I've used 10 different forum software commercial and open source or closed source but freeware yes bulletin is a great idea but its simply too restrictive and simply way to over priced considering the alternatives thats completely free out there.
myBB is free open source doesn't cost a single penny and it is IDENTICAL to vbulletin
in every single way from the looks to the AdminCP they have created one of the best
free professional boards with every feature you could possibly want already built into the stock files.
if only the customers of vbulletin tried or used mybb they'd soon drop that useless company
As for the guys with the legit licences who's been frozen out why don't you put your licenses on torrents, filehosting services for millions to enjoy i mean you've been stuff ed and screwed by the company so why on earth do you owe any loyalty to such a bad company?
share your copy your licence with millions then just maybe they will finally start listening to their existing customers as they'd have no choice but to listen because if they do not then they then find their customers will just retaliate in the past way possible.
i find it funny that their software is so expensive and they expect you to pay $$$$ for it first without first being able to demo/trial it out to see if it meets your needs i find this crazy..
give us 250 dollars now and we'll let you have a copy of our beta lmao!!!
the worst part is it's beta the wost part is its going to be full of bugs and errors...
is this the way everything is going now, paying for DEMO's paying top money for betas?
i thought a beta was exactly what it says and a demo was for demonstration.
still can't work it out how they can charge so much for so little when free alternatives
which are identical or just as good exists.
Wow, it's sad that IB say that Scott was disgruntled, will they have a go at Kier next?
If Patrick Stack is actually referring to a former employee as disgruntled, then it certainly casts renewed light on why the original devs of vbulletin began to bail out one by one this year.
It's a shame to see such a proudly developed piece of software go to rack and ruins because of the greed being pursued by IB. On and around the 13th, when the new licensing was announced, there was a huge thunderstorm over at vbull. Even the unofficial IrC channel was flooded more than usual, and there wasn't one happy chappy at the new arrangements, regardless of the pre-order discount.
While the new product from Internet Brands is to release a suite of the complete software tools, there's no assurance that their product will actually outshine other CMS such as Joomla, or indeed the Wordpress blog. It would appear that Internet Brands are hoping to rely on their most loyal and valued customers to take up the new suite en mass, however, that remains to be seen after the recent fiasco regarding the license and the fact that one has to splash the cash for each and every version, with no indication as to the timeline of the versions. IB's attitude may just drive more customers to chance their arm with an unlicensed version of the suite.
Still in Denial Ray?
Some of this guff from Morgan is unbelievable. I have a owned vb3 licence, my subscription needs to be updated to gain access to updates and stability patches, this has now gone FACT. vb3 will be supported until vb4.2 is released, yet my vb3 licence has prematurely reached its EOL now WHY? I will tell you why, because I am being forced to buy a vb4 licence for a product that is still in beta, and not available and a CMS that no-one has seen. And to those fan boy’s who say you are not being forced, you really need to wake up and smell what you are shovelling here. I note that IB stock fell nearly 10% today; I also note that the Chairman is called Morgan, could it be that daddy let junior cut his teeth on his first project?? Would have been cheaper to simply give him a teething ring, but as always the adults (in this case investors) will have to clean up the mess.
People pay for forum software?
You'll have to excuse the giggling.
Pre Sale extended
vBulletin Pre Sale extended, http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Internet-Brands-Inc-NASDAQ-INET-1068736.html Yet vbCustomers last to know. And the prices have gone up AGAIN!!!!
Nice commercial strategy..
..have these people been taking advise on how to manage software development from the same people who are advising bibblelabs?
Want to teach vBulletin a lesson?
Toss that software out on its a$$, and switch to phpBB3 - it's free, and a healthy competitor.
vBulletin is preventing downloads
"vBulletin also denies that it prevented customers from downloading certain software"
Those of us who own version 3 vBulletin can not download security patches or the bug fixes without paying for version 4, this is highly illegal and vBulletin has broke their contract stated in the purchased lifetime licenses if they do not allow version 3 license owners to renew as stated in the contract so we can download security updates.
I am in the process of seeking a law firm to file a class action lawsuit against Internet Brands, please contact me at ForumPostersUnion.com via PM if you are an attorney with expertise in software licensing law.
Why pay them anything?
I inherited a forum that used vBulletin. When that license ran out, I switched to phpBB. Wasn't too much work, and it's worked great for me ever since. There's been little or no substantive difference between the two products.
vBulletin version 4 folly continued
vBulletin officials first gave me a "7 day ban to cool off"
Then when they figured out that I was going to expose them and their tactics all over the web they posted this little Gem when I try to log into the highly censored 'official vBulletin forum'
You have been banned for the following reason:
Constant forum violations
Date the ban will be lifted: Never
vBulletin Community Forum
I will discuss matters with the vBulletin crew again, not on their forum, next time it will be in a court of law !!!
What a Joke
This is quite humorous.
To call Scott M "disgruntled" is quite laughable. Considering Scott and Kier are two of the most well known, well respected developers that have helped make vBulletin what it is today, it's ironic that IB has now turned on them, simply because they left and because they (along with hundreds of others) disagree with the direction, this downhill slope vB is heading in.
IB/Jelsoft, continue to head in this horrible direction and see how long your customers stick around. You all did a horrible job handling this already bad situation and you're only digging yourself a deeper hole. Well done.
What the hell is wrong with them?
The fact that I was banned with no warning from any of their staff proves that he is flat out lying. I had no warning of any kind prior to being banned. I stayed within forum rules and guidelines and only marked my displeasure in the Licensed Customers forum only. I never posted outside that forum after this all started and was always civil. NO guests or unlicensed members saw my comments. This is a flat out slap to the face of all licensed customers and even those considering going with them unaware of what's going on. I think it's time we start hitting up the Better Business Bureau demanding refunds and such as they have broken their contractual license with many of us. Sad to see what it's become.
If licensed forums is your thing, you should've bought IPB.
has this article been removed from the el reg front page? Is someone pulling strings?
This article ought to be put back on the el reg frontpage, because what is going on with the vbulletin application affects thousands of consumers, and as AVC has posted, there are those who are considering legal action against Internet Brands, and therefore I think the article and the comments should be allowed as much exposure as possible.
I'll second that phpBB recommendation. A great little forum system.
They do not even reply to tickets!
Vbulletin customers, please complain to the Better Business Bureau. That's going to hurt them a lot!
This reminds me of Dave Winer
I used to have a paid license for UserLand Frontier about 12 years ago, and I remember the circuses resulting when Dave Winer would want to focus on making Fancy New Things (and bragging about being Bill Gates's BFF) to the extent that major, reproducible bugs I documented in Frontier's debugger were completely ignored. Since I was desperately trying to finish a Frontier-based project so I could feed my family, this was a distressing situation. I made a little website called "crazytalk" that showed sequential snapshots of stepping through code in the debugger and the cursor was acting in "completely impossible" ways. It did no good.
Turned me on to open source. I swore I would never depend on a closed, proprietary system ever again. And when was the last tie you heard of a UserLand product? (It's too bad, because Frontier was pretty cool back in the day.)
To be honest...
I'm going to be ditching it anyway. v4.0, I don't care how good the admin is...it's just so damn ugly! Right out of the box you've got to think about heavily skinning it. PITA.
Bing goes vBulletin...
...migration scripts. shout it from the mountain
vB executives are loved by phpBB dev's
Here is the latest trend, move your databases over to phpBB which is a free open source forum software script.
They have a great support forum also:
I looked at a number of different forum apps, and discounted vBull early on, on account that is looked good, but not good enough to pay for when you can get phpbb and SMF for free.
Try either of these is my recommendation. I used phpbb for a while, but then switched to SMF as I liked it better. However, there's not much to choose from the two, and both have sites that offer free support, and both have tons of excellent mods.
The lawyers are jumping on board
As I mentioned in my prior posts, Internet Brands will certainly face legal action over this fraudulent software upgrade scheme, their illegal actions of not honoring their contractual obligations have damaged thousands of forum owners.
I will sit back and wait for the class action lawsuit to start, in the mean time everyone can watch Internet Brands stock fall to nothing in the next few weeks.
vBulletin seems to bring out the worst in admins, this seems to be no exception.
Not a specialist in forums but free forums as lefora.com , etc seem very good? Of course - some companies, once they have trapped the customers, do the same. Doesn't make it more fun but how much did you pay of that Vista service pack, sorry, something 7? At least I only use vendors / products which can be moved to something / somewhere else just by one sweep.
Maybe there IS hope!
Well now that I have learned the top vB developer and a number of other talented people have left Jelsoft, thankfully there are some people with ethics and principals, or maybe they were just smart enough to recognize there wouldn't BE jobs after some time, once learning off these marketing strategies alienating their client base.
Whatever be the case, I hope, and am even "suggesting", those people pool their talents, get a financial backer, which shouldn't be very difficult for being the core developers of the world's best professional forms software, which IB only owns the rights to through proxy, and did nothing to make this be the case, including the 4.0, and with out them, I do not see any new packages rivaling what has been done to date with out those crucial people.
So what say you financial investors, do you want a winning long term investment?
Pick these three or four people up, and send them a contract, then let them get a bunch of hacks to help with the time consuming coding, you will provide all the financial and marketing backing and leave the rest up to them!
IB wouldn't stand a chance against these visionary programmers, with whomever they hire, because the only talent left out there will be those few top competitors for the market share, being MyBB , well sorry to say, but the software, although having allot of plug-ins, does not have the right support in place and often times respond like they are tired of answer questions,
this was partially why I stepped up, but then when I have seen some PHPBB forums recently I would say hats off, like MyBB looks and feel like vB but that is all I can say not having any experience with it,.
My point is, if any other talents are needed these would be the places to hire them from, and since most of these are free, and these guys can probably out do anything coming down the IB pike, and if they price it right, but not give it away either, then there will not longer BE a market for IB to charge so much after sinking so much in to this, and we can all send them flowers while they write the company epitaph!
So lets see "Jelsoft the sequel" rise to the occasion, and free us rom this licensing fraud we were all taken in with!
HEY AVC CONTACT ME ON HTTP://ICANCOMPLAIN.COM AND PM ME THERE i HAVE SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION AND WILL JOIN YOU!
People.. I swear. First someone states that phpBB is a 'healthy competitor' to vB - it's not. Then we have someone talking about legal action - it'll never happen.
"Those of us who own version 3 vBulletin can not download security patches or the bug fixes without paying for version 4, this is highly illegal and vBulletin has broke their contract stated in the purchased lifetime licenses if they do not allow version 3 license owners to renew as stated in the contract so we can download security updates." - Lies. Whilte it is true that if you're license is expired, you can't download the latest version (has always been this way, mind you) you can still download are security patches - which are always available whether your license is expired or not.
sitting on the fence...
I recently inherited a vbulletin forum from an admin who no longer was interested in running it. We had to pay for a licence to get the forum upgraded from 2.6.9 (hideously old) to 3.8.4 (the current version). I even had to downgrade a new server to php4/mysql4 to get the upgrade process to work.
I've been really impressed with how well written vB is in it's current form and have found the mods useful. I'm not sure I can say the same with vB4 (even though people keep jumping up and down shouting "it's only a beta!". Why are they in such a rush to roll out a beta? I wouldn't risk it, especially when they rely on their forum system on their site for support & billing, as well as comments and mods.
This whole vB4 release and sales pitch stinks of desperation and/or poor planning. Surely it would make more sense to get it working and to the point where it was fully ready and then release/demo it? Or even just to follow the old method of beta testing that they used on vb3. Instead they roll out a dog, and to pretend that it's suffering issues due to the "sheer amount of people viewing the new system". Bullshit. If the old system can handle 600-700 users viewing a board at once, why can't the new one?
And then of course there's the way they've handled the feedback - banning users who have paid for their licences and revoking their access to the support. These users aren't trolls - some of these people are the most vocal supporters of vB in it's current form.
I'm going to watch very carefully what happens over the next few months with this new software and pricing. If I don't like what I see, I'm off. I suspect I won't be alone.
I'm off as well
Internet Brands are poisoning the well. Not only will I be switching forum software when I have the time (I have an unbranded license so at least I'm not promoting them), I won't be considering any non-free forum software in the future - just in case.
Got off the Windows treadmill some time ago, but the recent trend to try and make everything a service rather than a product will mean less money from me, not more.
Free security updates ???
OK Mr. Coward,
Please explain how owned license owners who have not renewed or are not able to renew their existing licenses can get security updates and the latest bug fixes for their forums !!
That or have a vBulletin official post it here since they have banned a lot of their own customers from the "official vBulletin customer support forums", which is also illegal according to the contract since they "claimed" in their license "free forum support" for all vBulletin customers.
Now you tell us some lies and blow some of that Internet brands smoke and mirror voodoo !!!
You see, this is the crux of the problem with Internet Brands and their propaganda, if they would simply tell the truth about customer options instead of trying to force all of us to buy a piece of crap vBulletin version 4 suite of software which was coded by new developers that none of us really trust, none of this would have happened in the first place.
But Internet Brands in the name of cash flow so they could inflated their 3rd quarter earnings report to run their stock and market capitalization up is working fraud and extortion against all vBulletin customers.
This tactic is causing the exact opposite result of their goal, the stock is selling off and the company is going to face over 100 million dollars in legal claims very soon while investors dump this stock, it lost over 9% of it's value last Friday resulting in decrease of Internet Brands market capitalization of $ 32,206,020.00.
I wonder if the claimed "so called vBulletin record sales" (customer extortion) made up more than the value the company lost in the market just on Friday.
Free Security Patches
"Whilte it is true that if you're license is expired, you can't download the latest version (has always been this way, mind you) you can still download are security patches - which are always available whether your license is expired or not."
Um. No, you can't. My owned licence has apparently expired or is inactive, according to the vBulletin support site and the latest I can download is v3.8.2.
Mind you, at least that's more up to date than the versions that Internet Brands run on their automotive forums, so stuck at v.3.7.1 and others at 3.7.5. Maybe their licences have also expired? Either that or they're not keen on their own product...
vbulletin is lying
I was banned for voicing my concerns. I did so in a licensed customer feedback section and i was banned for life by Steve Machol. No one from vbulletin.com would answer our questions about why they are doing what they are doing, and if you would ask, you were banned. I wish vbulletin.com managers, such as ray morgan, would come here and tell us we weren't banned. Just stating that we violated forum rules isn't an answer, what rule did we violate other then trying to get you guys to tell the truth.
i'm one of these banned client...so?!
yeah, everybody knows me, nexialys... i'm banned from the service site of vBulletin.com... so?!
i was banned after i posted some discussion i started regarding my interest to switch to another script, Joomla, for a site that needed a cms really badly. as VB was late to deliver, i had to make a choice and that choice was to post a "feedback" regarding vBulletin... and my thread was constructive, compared to a lot of other threads built just to bullshit the company.
what made me ban?... not the comments i posted, not my opinion on the company, but my comments regarding the original staff of vBulletin, the Jelsoft staff, that i consider lazy and self-contemplating. they built a great tool, 9 years ago, but in the last 3 years the releases were just bug fixes and additions of completely pointless elements. people are requesting more, and they do the opposite. but hey, that's my point of view, and Wayne think i'm the wrong thing that happen to vB.
i just have to note that i was banned from the forum, not the whole service.. i have complete access to my licenses, i can download any version that is available, *(even the beta), i can still request support tickets and so on... they only thing i was banned from is the forum, because the forum managers, who are not IB employees but old Jelsoft staff, are not willing to see me post there... i have opinions, they don't like that.
compared to others, in my mind, InternetBrands is something postitive for vBulletin... the only ones to see it as a negative point are simple the ones not interested in a commercial development, the ones with no budget and the ones that know nothing about the internet. no my problem.
why Jelsoft staff left the boat?... because they were said that if they are not happy they just have to leave... they knew what would arise from the company sale. They sold a company to a business manager, what could happen.. they were not forced to sell Jelsoft to IB, they were suggested, a plan was suggested and they accepted it, they were paid millions for it... so if they say they were not happy with the new situation, it's because they wanted more money, that's all...
Why the vB 4.0 pre-release or pre-display is bullshit from the start?... because they hired a designer or two that was not a professional of vBulletin, who knew nothing about vbulletin and nothing about Kier's work. everybody knows it, they did a wrong move, but they had to do it... they just had less time than expected to do so. IB is now changing mind and switch back to a more vB design, with more of IPB's style, like Kier leeched from IPB at first -- and yes, Kier think i'm a complete moron, i don't care, he is the one who left the boat, not me.
I'm not working for IB, i even was pushed aside when i suggested the lead managers to take a look at my work to be integrated to the newer version, 9 months ago... that's also a loss, because with my tools, they would have a really enhanced vBulletin, with elements that are not even known in the other platforms like IPB, phpBB, myBB... a complete integrated calendar with events discussions and rsvp, social group rebuild, independant private messaging with email integration, and so on... things that would tease a lot of clients to purchase vBulletin for the right reasons.. enhancements.
what a great enhancement is announced, a cms... yeah, i have the alpha versions from the start... still in beta 1, more than 100 queries for the main page... yeah, you read it right. why?... because that tool is just an amateurish portal with independant structure that they merged into vBulletin.. they did not even think to use one of the existing solution and rework it... would've been too costly for them to purchase a tool already released, like vbAdvcanced or vbPortal... even some of their official staff have portals in hands, they hired coders and developers that already have solutions in hands, like mini-cms solutions with1 or 2 queries, fully coded in the vB protocol... but no, they decided that their own technique to build things would be enough...
IB said they would hire interesting people depending on their portfoltio... so why they refuse to hire the most competent coders in the vBulletin market?... they want to renew what here?... these good coders were leeched a lot in the last years, if you ask me. Jelsoft always told they never looked at vB.org for codes and ideas... but each new version since i'm in the project neighbour have had a lot of these ideas taken from vb.org, and we can all show you how and what... a lot of coders there left because they felt frustrated of the situation... a lot of great coders were releasing great tools but were hit in the back by some pointless rules, because that community is not permitting to make a penny of our work. no official support...
imagine, Jelsoft built a solid engine to permit addons and plugins to be integrated to the core of the engine... "Products and Plugins" they say... but the contract state that if you add even just a single addon to your vBulletin, Jelsoft is not supporting it anymore... you have to uninstall them to receive support from the company. How Pathetic. so they built that 4900 lines engine only to support their own addons, at the moment there was only the blog and the project tools... nobody purchased them because both are just crap.
same for the best example of lazyness... the Calendar... everybody today needs a calendar to show their events, discuss them, have rsvp so people can appoint to them, etc... we need colors and style to show what is the big event of the moment, etc... some calendars do it all, like the Google one, which integrate iCal, making the calendar very useful to the desktop. vBulletin is one of the few forum software to have a good calendar... but it's been 6 years since they added anything to it... 6 years.
another one, the FAQ... which are not the FAQ anybody can use anyway, it's more like a "HowTo use vBulletin" because that's all we can do with that, it's already filled with so much pointless informations... nobody ever use it, because people stop reading it after 3 lines. we need a real Knowledge Base, a Wiki, real useful tools for the communities, not some HowTo to drive the forum, which for my own idea is supposed to be hidden in the footer of the site where people search for last hope help... not one of the first elements of the navbar.
anyway, i may be banned forever with that post, i don't care, i posted that already on my site, http://vbenhancer.com ... where i also state that we're building a new project right now that is more than just a forum... i'm not copying vBulletin, i will not compete it, i want more, i want a tool for webmasters, for multi-sites managers, guys like me, who fail to find a real solutions right now. I'm selfish, i want to answer my clients needs... that may be a good thing at the end, because i listen to people.
well nice to find out
I havea paid for licence which I did not buy a service contract for this year for a few reasons. I was about to upgrade but I find out from a news site that not only has my licence been castrated but that I have missed the 'offer' price on the new version. I get regular emails from them advising of security upgades but no notification of the change of licence? that seriously stinks and I will now explore the best alternative with good import tools.
Bob Bristo CEO is now jumping in
It seems that Internet Brands CEO Bob Bristo is now jumping in after the company lost over 37 million dollars in market capitalization in the last two trading sessions on the NASDAQ.
He made a blog post about IB's vision for vBulletin but did not address any of the licensing issues or the fraud complaints, he just rambled on about how much money they are investing in vBulletin CMS and the publishing suite, I guess that is his way to throw some water on the out of control fire.
vBulletin customers still in the dark on updates
Here we have a thread on the "official vBulletin forum" where a customer is asking vBulletin officials to give an answer on how they can get security updates and patches, with no answers at all from vBulletin staff.
I guess they are too busy listening to Bob Brisco's crisis control lectures to address the real issues of providing transparency to the licensing fraudulent scheme dreamed up by Brisco and Ray Morgan.
Brisco's Recent Blog
I have read the blog and i feel it was a little late at this point. The unhappy customers have been banned and have no way to communicate with Brisco. Steve Machol, probably under Ray Morgans guidance, banned anyone that was unhappy and objecting to what was going on. After doing so, Mr. Brisco can stop by, post a blog and everyone that comments to the blog, is happy and content. 100% of the comments to Mr. Brisco's blog, are all happy kiss ass statements. Not one comment is available asking real questions of Mr. Brisco and his current staff's actions. It is hard to believe that with all of the knowledge and skill Mr. Brisco has, he has been fooled by a licensed eye examiner.
Mr. Brisco, if you ever come across this post, please please take a few minutes and look and see how many customers steve machol has banned. I think you will be shocked if you see his heavy handed tactics. He infracts people whom object and you cannot contact him after he infracts you because he keeps his pm system shut off. If you try to ask him in public, he gives you another infraction. Then he turns around and goes on a banning frenzy. These types of tactics shouldn't be allowed to happen when you truly have unhappy loyal customers trying to ask questions, only to be shutdown my Steve Machol. Maybe give him a 30 day vacation to cool off and let him rethink how he is acting.
The only reason Brisco stepped in
CEO Brisco stepped in because his stock lost 37 million dollars in market value in two days, today insiders are propping it up by coming in and buying in an attempt to stop the sell off.
Brisco still has not addressed how vBulletin license owners are going to update their current versions, all the man talks about is how great vBulletin publishing suite is "going to be" (after the customers fund it's development), this is a bombastic approach and as soon as the lawsuits start all the hype and smoke and mirrors Internet Brands can dream up will not help.
This company is going down the tubes, it is just a matter of time.
It's written in an interpreted language. You've got the Source Code. Take Freedoms One and Three by force if you have to .....
..... Or just do what everyone else does, and run phpBB.
Bob Brisco, a new low
Well here is a good one, it appears that team vb.com has stooped to a new low. Brandon Sheley whom runs a site that is built around vbulletin, received a dmca complaint today for sharing Bob Brisco’s public blog “vision for vbulletin” on his site. I am having trouble believing how unprofessional this entire thing is getting. Sending out a DMCA complaint because someone posted what you said word for word, is bullcrap. Brandon has done allot to help with the growth of the vbulletin community, and is now threatened by the company he faithfully seemed to believe in. Is it really legal to even file a DMCA complaint for coping and pasting something that is public on the internet?
Mr. Brisco, tear down that wall !!!
Bob Brisco might as well give up on the censorship gig he is running because that is also bad public relations for Internet Brands, a company that owns and operates web chat forums, censorship on Internet Brands forums and now attempting to censor small web publishers lowers even more the integrity of the executive team running the company.
If Brisco had any guts he would get on The Reg and post his rebuttal, that would at least show that the man is taking steps in the right direction.
What he is doing is trying to save his stock from crashing at this point by getting his venture capital buddies to support it, but at this point that is putting good money after bad since he is managing this "vBulletin crisis" so poorly.
More Internet Brands style lunacy
This story is not over, the Titanic is sinking but you can still see the passengers trying to figure out how to save themselves.
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